School told it must improve despite efforts of new head

Peacehaven Community School SUS-161205-091602008
Peacehaven Community School SUS-161205-091602008

A school has been told to improve by Ofsted for the second time in almost three years.

Peacehaven Community School (PCS) underwent a two-day inspection in March but, despite the efforts of acting headteacher Austin Hindman, was not found to be performing well enough to earn a ‘good’ rating.

Mr Hindman, who took over as head in November, was described as providing “determined and demanding” leadership, while the recently appointed governing board had “a very clear and realistic view of the school’s strengths and areas for development”. Those areas for development included teaching and GCSE achievements.

In his report, lead inspector Paul Metcalf said: “Historic weaknesses in teaching mean that some pupils have gaps in their knowledge and understanding. This is hampering their progress.”

He added that recent improvements “have not led to rapid enough progress for all groups of pupils”.

Mr Metcalf said too few Peacehaven GCSE students gained the grades of which they were capable in 2015 and added: “The actions of leaders and governors over the last two years have not been sufficiently focused on ensuring that all pupils in the school make the best possible progress.”

But he noted data now suggested the results for this year would show a marked improvement.

Mr Metcalf provided a list of issues Mr Hindman and his team needed to address if Peacehaven was to achieve a ‘good’ rating at its next inspection. They included improving the quality of teaching, in order to raise pupils’ progress, improving leadership and management, and improving pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare by raising attendance.

His report stated: “Many staff commented favourably on recent improvements since the arrival of the new headteacher. Pupils and parents made similar comments and acknowledged that the school was ‘going through a challenging time’.”

In a letter to parents, Mr Hindman wrote: “The Ofsted report is very blunt: it makes it clear that the school had not done a good enough job at preparing students for their exams. There is no one working at PCS who doesn’t accept that, and who isn’t focused on changing the school.

“The Ofsted team are very clear that the changes we have made so far are moving the school in the right direction. However, until students at PCS are leaving with the GCSE results that they need to secure appropriate college courses and jobs, we cannot call ourselves a ‘good’ school.

“As a school we need to become more ambitious. The school needs to have the highest aspirations for its students, and our community needs to have the highest aspirations for our school.”

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